When Langston Dances (Hardcover)

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When Langston Dances By Kaija Langley, Keith Mallett (Illustrator) Cover Image

When Langston Dances (Hardcover)

By Kaija Langley, Keith Mallett (Illustrator)


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Staff Reviews

Flipping through the pages of this book, I was reminded of the first time I witnessed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; seeing the limber bodies of these dancers interpreting the joyous and sometimes even sorrowful songs of my ancestors through movement. I saw myself differently afterward. And though I'm not the greatest dancer, the tradition of rhythmic movement is glorious. To see this represented in a children's book for young black boys brought a smile to my face.

— Jonathan P.

A young Black boy dreams of dancing in this exuberant, buoyant picture book celebrating the beauty of dance, and the wonder of Black Boy Joy—perfect for fans of Firebird and Crown!

Langston likes basketball okay, but what he loves is to dance—ever since he saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform. He longs to twirl into a pirouette, whirl into a piqué. He wants to arabesque and attitude, grand battement and grand jeté. When he walks, the whole street is his stage.

With his neighborhood cheering him on, will Langston achieve his dream?
Born and raised in East Orange, New Jersey, Kaija Langley has been writing since she fell in love with words at age seven. She knew she was onto something when she wrote her first poem and her grade school classmates thought she’d copied it from a book! A proud alumna of Morgan State University, a historically black college and university in Baltimore, Maryland, she received her MFA in fiction from St. Mary’s College of California in 2005. She’s called many places home over the years—New Jersey, Maryland, DC, California, Louisiana—and currently lives, writes, and plays in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her two bonsai and her beloved. 

Keith Mallett has been drawing and painting for as long as he can remember. The NAACP Image Award-nominated artist and designer has created posters and fine art prints for more than forty years. As guest artist, he crafted the 2017 Google Doodle commemorating Martin Luther King Day. Keith Lives in San Diego with his wife and German Shepherd.
Product Details ISBN: 9781534485198
ISBN-10: 1534485198
Publisher: Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books f
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Pages: 40
Language: English
"A tenderly told story about self-acceptance. The love and support that Langston receives from his mother serve to buoy his confidence, but it is his awareness of his passion that sustains him and pushes him to do what makes him happy: a lesson for every child. The illustrations are warm and dreamy...the absolute embodiment of Black boy joy, this is a beautiful and important book."
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Mallett’s lively, realistic illustrations, characterized by airbrushed strokes and dynamic dancers of varying skin tones, help further bring the story to life. Notable is Langston’s unwavering passion for ballet—and his mother’s just as steadfast support—in this richly affirmative picture book."
— Publishers Weekly, starred review